NFL DFS DEEP DIVE: Week 14

Week 13 Review

Apologies for the lateness of this weeks column. Day job getting in the way of all this fun stuff! Hopefully next week we’ll be back to normal. Last weeks plays were strong on the whole with nine ‘great’ plays including Minshew, Gibson, Renfrow, Van Jefferson and Logan Thomas. Derek Carr did enough to warrant a ‘good’ play and four players slipped into the bad category, namely, Jamaal Williams, Aiyuk, Pitts and Freiermuth. 

Great plays (3x$) – 78 (46%)

Good plays (2x$) – 47 (27%)

Bad plays (<2x$) – 46 (27%)

Week 14

It’s an Interesting looking slate for week 14. Covid is running rife on top of injuries so there are lots changing constantly and updates will follow. 

Quarterbacks

Taylor Heinicke $5500 Vs Dallas Cowboys

As Week fifteens best ball playoffs loom, it’s made me a little sad looking at teams with Ryan Fitzpatrick on, dreaming of his gung-ho, deeply average skill set. In fairness though, Taylor Heinicke has been a great replacement and no doubt has a decent career ahead of him as an NFL backup. Whilst he’s been serviceable and had six top 12 finishes, it’s hard to imagine Washington keeping him as a starter when he has thrown an interception in all but three games this season. Heinicke’s floor has been steady enough with only three starts resulting in under 15.0 DK points. Antonio Gibson has become the talk of the town but against an explosive Cowboys offence, I like the idea of pivoting off the chalkier pick and stacking Heinicke and McLaurin against a Cowboys defence allowing the 26th most points to the position.

Cam Newton $5400 vs Atlanta Falcons

I know, I know, week twelve was ugly. You don’t have to tell me. I played Cam in several lineups and his 8.2 points cost me dearly. However, Atlanta’s defence is a little tamer than Miami’s and in particular, struggles to stop the run and haemorrhages points to quarterbacks, with the 31st most on the season. With CMC ruled out for the rest of the season and Matt Rhule firing Joe Brady for a lack of commitment to the running game,  I see no reason why the panthers won’t seek to #Establish against the Falcons. This game might not be a high scoring affair or particularly pretty, but whilst Cam is this cheap and has a fairly safe floor, I’ll keep playing him. 

Taysom Hill $5600 @ New York Jets

Call me crazy, but I kind of fancy the Jets to win this game. But enough about my Zack Wilson best ball stacks… so many… Taysom Hill practised in full on Wednesday and it sounds like he’ll be good to go against one of the worst teams in the league, who are allowing the 27th most points to quarterbacks. In week 1 this team surrendered two rushing touchdowns to Sam Darnold. Sam Darnold. How will they fare against an actual rushing quarterback? Kamara is expected to be back for the Saints and the pass catchers are dropping like flies but the Jets linebackers routinely wave through opposing rushers and I have no doubt Taysom can get to the high teens on rushing output and marginal throwing. 

Running backs

Ty Johnson $4400 vs New Orleans Saints

The saints are no cupcake matchup for running backs, ranking as the league-best on Daftkings rankings and the sixth toughest over the last five weeks. The two reasons we’re interested in Ty Johnson are cost and opportunity. Michael Carter remains on I.R and Tevin Coleman is suffering from a concussion. If Coleman recovers in time I would have little interest in playing either back, but if Johnson is the only show in town, buckle up, don’t watch the game and just return to check on your score later. Johnson averages 4.28 targets per game since the bye week and that could also see a leap. 

Saquon Barkley $6000 vs LA Chargers

This one is a braver call than some but Barkley is definitely heading for a boom in production before long. His usage remains elite and he’s been unlucky to not turn it into fantasy points. Only eight other players have run more routes than Barkley’s 27% average over the last month. The chargers focus on stopping the passing game and willfully allow rushing production from most teams, ranking 26th worst against the run across the season. With Giants pass-catchers and QB’s all struggling for health, Saquon might be a good bring-back against any Chargers pass-catchers who can play. 

Godwin Igwebuike $4000 vs Denver Broncos

D’Andre Swift has been ruled out and Jamaal Williams is on the Covid-19 list. Godwin Igwebuike ate into Williams workload slightly last week with four touches and whilst Williams was the clear choice behind Swift touching the ball 18 times now that should trickle down to Godwin. The Broncos defence has had its moments but against the run over the last five games, they’ve ranked 15th and are firmly in the middle of the pack. The Lions lack enough skill players to abandon the run completely, with Hockenson struggling with injury too, and Igwebuike should see plenty of opportunities. It might not be pretty or a fast-paced game, but this play might fit into certain builds. 

Jeff Wilson $4400 @ Cincinnati Bengals

The Niners are banged up, as they always seem to be, at running back. Jeff Wilson hurt his knee against Seattle but has recovered and practised in full on Thursday. Elijah Mitchell seems certain to miss out leaving only Wilson and Hasty as viable options. I’m sceptical that Shanahan won’t cook up something different, but on the surface, Wilson looks like a good play against a Bengals defence that ranks bottom ten against the run. If I had to choose between Wilson and Ty Johnson, I’d probably lean Wilson. Since week 8 only three teams have run the ball more often in neutral situations. It’s part of the 9ers identity and it would be a surprise to see them shy away from it. 

Rashaad Penny $4800 @ Houston Texans

On Friday Pete Carroll ruled out Adrian Peterson for this week’s cupcake matchup against the Texans, whilst also saying he expects Penny to be a big part of this weeks offence. Coaches lie sometimes but Carroll is a huge fan of Penny and in this matchup against the Texans I like it as a contrarian play. Only five teams allow more points to running backs and with Davis Mills under centre, it’s tough to know how well the Texans can play. I envisage Pete Carroll being rock hard as he seeks to establish the **** out of the run game.  

Wide receivers

Mike Williams $6000 & Josh Palmer $3000 vs New York Giants

Keenan Allen will miss week 14 due to a positive covid test and if by now you haven’t heard how well Mike Williams does in games without Allen, see the tweet below. What complicates matters somewhat is Mike Williams who is unvaccinated and was a close contact. By Saturday afternoon we’ll know if Williams can play and if so I imagine he becomes very chalky and also cash game viable. If Williams tests positive Jaylen Guyton will pick up some steam amongst folks but I’m slightly higher on Josh Palmer. The rookie hasn’t broken out but he’s seen steady usage in the slot. Regardless of whether Williams plays, I’m projecting Palmer to see high usage in the normal Keenan Allen role, even if he doesn’t see an Allen type target share. Whilst Guyton plays outside and perhaps sees more high-value targets he’ll also see slightly tougher coverage. The Giants defence is clocked off for the season, if they ever really clocked in the first place, they allow the 25th most points to receivers and with the chargers having the 3rd highest pass rate over expectation, it could be a busy day for the Giants secondary. 

Julio Jones $5400 vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Jones hasn’t been quite what the titans or fantasy managers hoped this year, but there’s still time to turn that around and Julio has practised in full for the second straight day. A return this weekend would be most welcome to Ryan Tannehill after weeks of throwing to players many of us were unfamiliar with. This Jaguars defence has very little to boast about in the secondary and has allowed the 29th most points to receivers this year. Julio may be on the back nine of his career, but I’d be very surprised if he can’t see a very high target share against this poor team in a game the Titans must win to keep their playoff push on track. If for any reason Julio can’t play or you’re looking for a cheaper play, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine ($4500) has averaged 15.6 DraftKings points in his last two games. 

Laquon Treadwell $3400 @ Tennessee Titans

Yeah, we’re not exactly blessed with great options in the mid-lower tier this week. The former first-rounder looked to have flamed out of the league well and truly before injuries in Jacksonville finally gave Treadwell another opportunity. In Treadwell’s last two games he has seen 13 targets and taken them for at least 50 yards in both. Now he faces a Titans defence that has allowed a whopping 2380 yards to receivers and averages 1.3 touchdowns allowed per game. This is deep punt territory but when you put Treadwell into your lineups, you’re going to like what it allows you to do elsewhere. 

Jamison Crowder $4700 vs New Orleans Saints

With Elijah Moore (concussion) and Corey Davis (season-ending surgery) both missing out Crowder looks to be the last one at the dance. The Saints struggle against the pass and in particular in the slot. It’s hard to be excited about playing Jets players but the price is kind and this makes for a nice correlation play against Taysom Hill or Alvin Kamara. In the last five weeks, the Saints have allowed the 27th most points to receivers. It might not make for a pretty game, but in this PPR format, Crowder could have a busy day.

Honourable mention

Josh Reynolds $4100 vs Denver – The broncos are a solid defence against the pass ranking tenth best in the last five weeks, but they rank higher against tight ends than receivers and if Fangio opts to take away Hockenson if he plays, Reynolds might see more opportunities. In two games as a Lion, Reynolds has seen 12 targets and produced 26.9 DraftKings points and now Hockenson could be set to miss out Reynolds target share could increase dramatically.

Tight End

Austin Hooper $3400 vs Baltimore Ravens

The Browns have no healthy tight ends apart from Hooper and the Ravens have virtually no healthy cornerbacks. It seems inevitable that if the Ravens take away the Cleveland running game as they did two weeks ago that the Browns will need to make use of what passing options they do have. The Ravens have improved against the position as the season has gone on, ranking 16th over the last 5 but this defence is so beaten up I’d start most options against them going forward. 

John Bates $3000 vs Dallas Cowboys

By now we’re familiar with the fact that if Washington has a TE healthy, they’re going to give them almost every-down usage. Logan Thomas is out for the season and Ricky Seals-Jones is still fighting a hip injury that has kept him out since week 10. Bates faces a Cowboys defence that ranks 20th against the position and has given up the 10th most yardage to the position. As a budget option, I’m good with it in both cash and GPP. 

Icky Mention

Gerald Everett $3500 vs Houston Texans

Everett might just have had one of the worst tight end performances of all time last week, catching four of seven targets for seven yards and contributing two fumbles. However, nobody is going to play him and with Seattle becoming a more pass-heavy team in recent weeks, ranking 8th in neutral pass rate since week eight, I feel like it’s worth a look against this woeful Texans defence if you’re looking at Seahawks stacks and don’t fancy playing the running backs. 

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